Ask Exene: Learning to Write Off Your Fears

Exene Cervenka is a writer, visual artist and punk rock pioneer. The OC transplant is the lead singer for X, the Knitters and Original Sinners. If you want to ask the legendary vocalist for advice, send an email to


I'm a writer at my wits end. A few months ago I started writing my first novel and for the life of me I can't seem to get past the 30th page of it. It's this kind of dark, comedic, drug-filled saga based on the life of a longtime friend of mine who spent years as a roadie for some of the biggest bands in rock-n-roll, a career that turned out to be one hell of a ride and cost him pretty much everything in his life. Anyway, the story is not my problem. I think I'm the problem.

Classic writer's block–though I must admit I've never had it this bad before. I've gotten to the point where if you lined up all the words I've erased in my computer right after I've typed them, it would create a string of crappy writing that would literally wrap around the globe. As a fellow writer and an artist who's been at it for decades, have you had to deal with writer's block much? If so, do you have any time-honored techniques?

Love, Ray



Over the last few months while I have been reading your letters, I
have discovered many things, and been moved by the concerns and fears
and problems we all universally face.

We are a fear-based society, so afraid of hurting our partners by
telling them the truth, afraid of our own creativity and even more
afraid it will fail to materialize, afraid to admit, or confront,
or look deep, and afraid of rejection. Do not exist in a state of fear.

When will we start standing up for ourselves, against the rude, the
abusive, the sexist, the dangerous, the unpredictable charlatans and con
artists that populate our world? What about the mercenary, the
politician, the corporate, the greedy, the exploitative? We don't want
to think about fixing the world; it scares us to even think about the
state of our uncivilized planet for a minute. The future is what we

Over and over we search for ourselves, the real us is that person we
are not allowed to meet, nurture, express, or love. Wanna find your true
soul-mate? It's you. Love yourself. And it's easy, it only takes 60
seconds! Just close your eyes, and say softly, “I AM.” That's it. Just
say it until you feel it. “I AM. I AM. I AM. I AM. I AM.”

Love, Exene

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